With spring right around the corner, gardeners can begin planning for successful harvest.
Rickey Roberts, agriculture and natural resources extension agent for Marion County, said the first step in planning is to give thought to the garden’s layout.
“Put some thought into the layout of your garden and where you’re going to rotate your crops,” Roberts said.
Roberts said he’s a fan of rotating even garden crops in order to reduce disease and weed issues.
Now is a good idea to do soil testing to avoid over-application of nutrients, Roberts said.
“Both lawns and gardens here are often plenty sufficient in both phosphorus and potash, and often we can get by with just applying nitrogen,” Roberts said.
Soil can be worked in the garden if that task was not done in the fall, Roberts said.
The soil can be worked as long as it is not overly wet. Soil is ready to be worked if it breaks up and crumbles when a handful is squeezed. It’s too wet if it runs in ribbons between the fingers.
Roberts said plants that have been mulched through the winter can now have that mulch removed so the sun can reach the soil and warm it up.
Now is also a good time to think about what plants to grow in the vegetable or flowerbed, and perhaps to begin looking for specific varieties of specific crops.
He recommends the Kansas Garden Guide, published by KSU Extension, for help with selecting specific plants, but most vegetables do well in Kansas, Roberts noted.
Some things to think about in choosing what to plant are how much you want to water the garden and how much hoeing and weeding you want to have to do, Roberts said.
Roberts also recommends pruning trees and bushes now.
“It’s amazing how, when a tree is young, we can prune it and shape it,” Roberts said.